would you like to know where all MeFi users are from? May 9, 2001 9:50 PM   Subscribe

Topic drift... would you like to know where all MeFi users are from? Discuss.
posted by SpecialK to Feature Requests at 9:50 PM (11 comments total)

I hail from Richmond, VA, but go to school now in Duluth, MN.
posted by Zosia Blue at 11:14 PM on May 9, 2001

You mean some MeFi Demographics?
posted by kathryn at 2:33 AM on May 10, 2001

I openly talk about where I'm from when I find it applicable, but there are some people who would either purposefully or unconsciously take geographic location as something which would allow them to make assumptions about certain individuals. I find it akin to asking MeFi participants for their skin color, or religious choice. It's okay if it naturally comes up in conversation, but to map these sorts of things out? Rings of character categorization.

One of the plusses of online communication via forums like this is that we're all on equal ground: we're all blind.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:04 AM on May 10, 2001

I'd like to know it in the aggregate, but don't care much in the case of individuals. But how you could find this out is beyond me anyway.
posted by rodii at 8:14 AM on May 10, 2001

Just like we discussed in the link thread... map the IP to the lat/long, and put a dot on the map.
posted by SpecialK at 8:37 AM on May 10, 2001

And would my IP address place me here in Northern Virginia, or would it place me in central Michigan, the location of my ISP (concentric.net), or would it place me in San Francisco (THE CITY), where XO Communications -- the company that bought Concentric.net -- is located?
posted by crunchland at 9:23 AM on May 10, 2001

Yeah, the wonderfulness of the net is that you and the machine where your IP address comes from don't have to be in the same place, y'know? Where do all those dial-in AOL users appear to come from?
posted by rodii at 11:34 AM on May 10, 2001

Someone mentioned it in a previous thread, but can it lead to discrimination?

(oh sure you'd say that FooUser, you're from the South!)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:37 AM on May 10, 2001

I linked this inside the thread, but here it is again: host name to latitude/longitude. My local ISP was bought by a larger ISP, which was bought by an even larger ISP, but en.com still shows up as Cleveland, OH. Using my IP address returned no result. However, I'm not at all convinced it would be a very accurate way of mapping people.

If we do map ourselves, I feel we shouldn't attach names to any points, or perhaps do aggregates by state/province/country. It might also be a good idea to make it an opt-in project, so that no one would be mapped without their consent.
posted by Aaaugh! at 11:55 AM on May 10, 2001

What if Matt just added a "Where are you?" field to the User Info stats? (Yes, Matt, I know you're tickled at the idea of more gratuitous work.) Then someone like, I dunno, waxpancake could map it out? It would also be, obviously, completely opt-in.
posted by Skot at 12:01 PM on May 10, 2001

Since we're pestering Matt to do work (something I'm now acutely aware of :-) the option to make it publically available would be handy. That way people can add to the aggregate data without other people being able to use that for discriminatory means.
posted by cCranium at 2:10 PM on May 10, 2001

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